You already know this, but you didn’t win the $2 billion Powerball lottery last week.
I’m sure you would have gracefully dealt with the many curses that come with winning the lottery – the money scammers, the huge tax grab, the incredibly large impact of inflation on purchasing power and more. – but not beating the odds doesn’t. means you are doomed to a life of depravity. You’re just going to have to follow a more conventional path to financial freedom.
Yet you can still be a winner playing this week’s giant jackpot – or whenever the winnings get huge and Powerball or Mega Millions are hot topics again – by doing something most people don’t. not when they play the lottery.
Instead of taking the standard approach – tearing up your losing tickets and forgetting everything until next time – take a moment with those losing odds and think “What if…?”
Before I help you take this win out of your lottery losses, I should note that I’m not a fan of lotteries. I have never bought as much as a scratch ticket.
(With the odds of buying the winning Powerball ticket being 1 in 292.2 million, I think my odds of finding the lucky ticket are about as good as your odds of buying it, so I’m saving my money in my wallet and have my eyes peeled for ticket stubs.)
Last year, Americans spent more than $105 billion on lottery tickets, about two-thirds of which bought scratch tickets and the rest daily, bi-weekly and weekly issues. That’s about $320 per person per year.
(I live in Massachusetts, however, which has the highest per capita lottery ticket sales in the United States, closer to $800 per year.)
Since lottery players are habitual spenders – even those who only play for the big jackpots say things like “I only buy lottery tickets when…” define a habit – it’s important to consider this happens if the purchase of tickets is reduced.
Set aside $50 a month for the next 30 years and assume the stock market’s historical rate of return over the past 90 years: you’ll walk away with a price of over $125,000.
It won’t seem like a godsend, but it’s a pretty good alternative to constantly buying lost tickets for their supposed “entertainment value”.
It’s hard to imagine the money you’re wasting on giving yourself the kind of entertainment you could have on $125,000 after three decades.
This slow-moving reflection on getting rich is the answer to the question millions didn’t know before this week’s draw: “What if I never win the lottery?”
Losing the lottery this week can help you answer that bigger, more realistic question, because even if a nine-figure jackpot isn’t in your future, there’s plenty of potential for you to one day win a big one. amount of money.
It could be an inheritance, a lump sum distribution, an annual bonus, lucrative overtime, an “incentive” to retire from your employer, a surprise chance to earn a salary additional or other bargain; the source doesn’t matter, what matters is the possibility of it being life-changing, even if those upgrades are minimal.
So before throwing your losers in the lottery, check them for smaller winning amounts and think about what you would do with those prizes.
Winning $1 million by matching five numbers (but not the Powerball) wouldn’t be as life changing as the $2 billion top prize, but it will leave a mark on your life, especially if you focus on your priorities. .
Experts who study the psychology of investing suggest ending the following statement with as many answers as possible.
“If I got into a big buck tomorrow, I would…”
Your answers may include quitting your job, paying off your credit cards, eliminating other debts, securing the children’s school fees, paying off the mortgage, securing your retirement, donating to your favorite charities, helping your family, buy a dream house or car. or take a fantastic vacation, start your own business or buy a franchise and more.
Add ideas to your list until it includes everything you would have considered doing if you had won the giant jackpot.
Now adjust to the second prize jackpot of $1 million and decide which items come first and which are more secondary.
Then consider the Powerball third prize of $50,000 (for matching four numbers plus the Powerball).
The smaller the windfall, the more you focus on the real priorities; expelling the things you’d get for ridiculous money, but looking at how you’d spend doable amounts of money.
You build a financial wishlist with your prioritized dreams and desires, which is useful even without a jackpot to fund it.
If zeroing out debt was your first decision after collecting lottery winnings, it should probably be the first step in your daily financial planning. So if you’re earning some extra income and can reduce your debt and take some of the stress out of your life, that’s probably where you should invest most of the money you make from any personal windfalls. .
Work it to the lowest of bargains. Powerball prizes below the $50,000 level range from $4 to $100. These are not life-changing amounts, but they can be life-enhancing, whether they pay for a little splurge or are saved up and combined with other side income, deals and more to become a jackpot to do it yourself.
The big lottery winner can afford to be a little thoughtless with some of his winnings – though eventually he has to get serious to make sure he avoids the much publicized problem of wasting the money – but the rest of us really cannot afford frivolity with the few bargains we receive in a lifetime.
We get proof of this whenever we complain about how rampant inflation has changed our buying and spending habits; it’s only a few dollars here and there, but you can quickly see that it adds up.
Add those feelings to your status as a lottery loser and it’s a reminder we can all take advantage of: money represents opportunity; don’t blow it.